VC president knows firsthand about benefits of community colleges

5b3fe5ed12ef6.image Victoria College President Dr. David Hinds

Victoria College President Dr. David Hinds figured he would seek a career in the oilfields of West Texas straight out of high school. But the bust of the 1980s necessitated an alternate plan.

Hinds didn’t consider continuing his education until his roommate, who was also employed in the oilfield, suggested the two should register at the local community college.   

“I was not certain I would succeed in college,” Hinds said. “Then someone awarded me a $500 scholarship, anonymously. Even though I didn’t know if I was going to do well in college, somebody out there thought I would.”

That gift helped motivate Hinds to flourish at Midland College and begin an educational journey that would lead him to Texas State University, the University of Houston and The University of Texas at Austin.

“I learned that education is the great equalizer and is the one thing that you can earn and no one can take away from you,” said Hinds, who taught at Brazosport College and served as vice president of instructional affairs at Alleghany College in Maryland before being hired as Victoria College’s president in June 2015.

Hinds said community colleges are well equipped to serve an underserved population.

“Because of their affordability and accessibility, community colleges are a mechanism where more people can climb socioeconomically from one class to another,” Hinds said. “If community colleges don’t continue to make those opportunities available, we will lose our middle class.”

Hinds feels the benefits of community colleges and regions they serve are reciprocal.

“We offer people the opportunity to improve their lives individually, and that pays dividends to the community,” Hinds said. “And the community pays dividends back with its investment to the college. Communities that support community colleges are generally better off socially and economically. You look at communities that have a community college and those that don’t, and you see a stark contrast.”

Hinds sees glimpses of his former self when he watches Victoria College students find their paths to success and gain self-confidence along the way.

“It is amazing to see the students grow so much from the first time they step on our campus,” Hinds said. “You see them discover and grow their passions for their careers. You watch them as they are finding their way in the world. The most rewarding part is watching them complete their studies at Victoria College knowing they are now better equipped to navigate that world.”